The World’s 10 Oldest Mountains

The Earth, estimated to be approximately 4.54 billion years old, has been marked by a continuous evolution of geological processes. Among the most enduring features of this dynamic planet are the majestic formations of mountains, serving as a window into the rich and varied history of our world.

These ancient peaks and ranges bear witness to a multitude of events, such as continental shifts and geological upheavals, that have shaped the landscape over time. As we embark on an exploration of the world’s oldest mountain ranges, we are presented with a fascinating narrative of the enduring forces that have sculpted our planet.

Barberton Mountains Oldest mountain on earth

Below we have a list of  the world’s oldest mountain ranges.

1. Barberton Mountains Located in South Africa – 3.5 billion years Old

The Barberton Mountains, also known as Makhonjwa Mountains are widely acknowledged as the oldest mountain range on Earth, with an estimated age of 3.5 billion years. These mountains are a geological treasure, bearing witness to the early stages of continental formation and the emergence of life. Comprised of greenstone, this range boasts intricate layers that offer rare insights into the Archean Earth.


2. Hamersley Range in Western Australia – 3.4 billion years Old

Following closely behind, the Hamersley Range in Western Australia is recognized as the second oldest mountain range in the world, with an estimated age of 3.4 billion years. This range, which is part of the Pilbara Craton, formed through the stabilization of ancient volcanic islands and sea basins, making it one of the most ancient landmasses on the planet. The Hamersley Range’s distinctive red and brown hues and rugged terrain make it a striking natural wonder.


3. Waterberg Mountains, located in South Africa’s – 2.8 billion years old

The Waterberg Mountains, located in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, are believed to be approximately 2.8 billion years old. This range, part of the larger Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, is predominantly characterized by its striking red sandstone cliffs and plateaus. These mountains are believed to have formed during the Proterozoic Eon, offering a unique glimpse into the Earth’s early geological history.


4. Magaliesberg Mountains, situated in South Africa – 2.3 billion years old

The Magaliesberg Mountains, situated in South Africa’s North West Province, are estimated to be 2.3 billion years old, making them one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. These mountains emerged from sedimentary rocks, including quartzite and conglomerate, that accumulated in an ancient shallow sea. Over millions of years, these rocks were compressed and uplifted, resulting in the steep cliffs and distinctive formations that define the Magaliesberg Mountains.


5. Guiana Highlands  – 2 billion years

In South America, the Guiana Highlands are considered one of the oldest regions on Earth, with an estimated age of around 2 billion years. These highlands, largely situated in Venezuela, but also extending into Guyana, Suriname, and Brazil, consist of ancient crystalline rocks, including granite and gneiss. The region’s unique topography features flat-topped mountains, called tepuis, and dense rainforests.


6. Black Hills, located in South Dakota and Wyoming – 1.8 billion years old

The Black Hills, located in South Dakota and Wyoming, are believed to be the oldest mountains in the United States, with an estimated age of around 1.8 billion years. Composed of ancient granite and metamorphic rocks from the Precambrian Era, these mountains were created by volcanic activity and represent an uplifted dome. The Black Hills are famous for landmarks such as Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park, and their distinctive forested peaks and granite outcrops.


7. St. Francois Mountains, situated in southeastern Missouri – 1.5 billion years old

The St. Francois Mountains, situated in southeastern Missouri, are estimated to be around 1.5 billion years old. These mountains, comprised of rugged terrain and distinctive pink and red granite rock, are believed to have formed through volcanic activity. Among their notable features are Taum Sauk Mountain, the highest point in Missouri, and Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park.


8. Stirling Range Location Australia – 1.3 billion years old

In Australia, the Stirling Range is widely considered to be around 1.3 billion years old. These mountains, formed through uplift and folding processes associated with the movement of the Australian Plate, are marked by their sharp, jagged peaks and steep cliffs. Bluff Knoll, the tallest peak in the range, stands at 3,605 feet (1,099 meters) and offers stunning views of the ancient landscape.


9. Blue Ridge Mountains, located in the Eastern United States – 1.2 billion years old

The Blue Ridge Mountains, located in the Eastern United States, bear testament to the Earth’s tectonic plate collisions, with an estimated age of 1.2 billion years. These mountains, which emanate a bluish hue from the vast forests of deciduous trees covering their slopes, are part of the Appalachian Mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic drive that winds through the range, offers breathtaking views of this ancient terrain.


10. Laurentian Mountains located in Eastern United States – 1 billion years old

The Laurentian Mountains, also known as the Laurentides, are situated in eastern North America and are widely recognized as part of the Canadian Shield, one of the Earth’s oldest geological formations. With an estimated age of 1 billion years, the Laurentian Mountains represent a vast expanse of rolling terrain, interspersed with numerous lakes and rivers. This region is also known as the Precambrian Shield and the Laurentian Plateau, and its pristine landscape is a testament to the Earth’s early history.


Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania – 750,000 years Old

In comparison, Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is relatively young in geological terms, with an estimated age of 750,000 years. This mountain, which is believed to have formed through volcanic activity and the uplift of the East African Rift system, remains active today. Despite its youth, Mount Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peaks and iconic presence make it one of Africa’s most recognizable and beloved mountains.